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Thread: Illegal Detainment In Bridgeport?

  1. #1
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    Illegal Detainment In Bridgeport?

    I figure this is the best time as ever to introduce myself. My name is Sean O. a few of you may recognize or know me. I've been a long time reader and wanted to make sure I read everything here before posting. This situation to me seems a lot like Rich B's at the Old Saybrook Starbucks. However, there was no call to authorities in my case. This is the run down on my confrontation with Bridgeport PD while Open Carrying on Jan. 13, 2012 at about 11:10a.m at La Roma Deli in Bridgeport.


    I walked into the pizza place and noticed the officer placing an order, kept about my business and paid him no mind. I walked to the back of the store and grabbed two sodas out of the cooler. I then walked up to the counter, which the LEO already had moved from, and told the lady at the counter what I had ordered. I'm standing at the counter for about 3 mins., she comes over with my order and rings it up on the register. I go to hand the lady my money and get a tap on the shoulder.

    Officer R. Ryan Badge #926: (pointing at my pistol) "What's that?"
    Me: "A pistol."
    Ofcr. Ryan: "Are you a police officer?"
    Me: "No, I do have my CT pistol permit though."
    Ofcr. Ryan: "Let's go, conceal it, cover it up."
    Me: "No, sir, there is no law in the state of CT that requires my weapon be concealed."
    Ofcr. Ryan: (smuggly) "I don't think so, police officers aren't allowed to show their weapon and you think you are? Conceal it now."
    Me: "No, sir, CT State Statutes say nothing about concealing your weapon. If you contact Sgt. Nikola she is aware of this and will explain it to you."
    Ofcr. Ryan: "The law says it has to be concealed, who's the police officer here, ME NOT YOU. Now cover it up now or you'll be arrested"
    Me: "Sir, I am going to conceal but only under duress." (he turns away) "What's your name and badge number, by the way?"
    Ofcr. Ryan: "Officer Ryan!"
    Me: "Badge 926? Thank you."
    Ofcr Ryan: "Matter of fact give me your permit!"
    Me: "Am I under arrest or being detained?"
    Ofcr Ryan: "Yes, you're not going anywhere right now."
    Me: (hand him my permit) "Would you like my ID also?"
    He takes my ID.
    Fifteens minutes of him talking on the phone and letting my pizza get cold, he gets shut down. I asked him if I was "all set" and he gave me my permit and ID and started to walk away. At which point he asked if I was recording him and I told him yes I am. Some people have said asking for his name and badge # escalated the situation and got me detained.I still don't believe he had RAS to detain me, because I asked for his name and badge #? What changed in the 2 seconds before I asked for his information? All of a sudden my permit is necessary. Sounds to me like(I know it was) retaliation for possibly filing a complaint. Which I did not say I was going to do. Although I guess it is implied when you ask for name and badge #. I video taped all of this on my phone.
    Last edited by SPOProds; 01-15-2012 at 03:12 AM.

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    How far are you willing to go with this? Thats the question you have to answer for yourself. It does sound like you were unduely detaind by this officer. If it were me I would call his chief and ask for a face to face to relate the incident to him, then suggest that officer friendly get additional training in this area, all politely of course. good luck.

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    Thumbs up

    stand for your RIGHT. good job!

  4. #4
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    I am not a lawyer. I am not familiar with CT law. Take this post with a grain of salt. Treat it more as suggestions of what to consider and where to look to confirm or dispel that you were unlawfully seized.

    I had a longer post, more in depth, but my browser hit a snag and shut down, losing everything before it was submitted. I don't really care to try to reconstruct all that again. Please realize what I write below are just the high points that I see without me going into greater detail or analysis.

    1. You were unlawfully seized in violation of your 4A right against unreasonable seizure. It may have started earlier. But, for sure it started at the point the cop threatened to arrest you if you did not conceal. No reasonable person would think he could disregard the officer and walk away. See US vs Mendenhall quoted and linked below.

    Also, you have an established right to be free even from interference unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. See Terry v Ohio quoted and linked below. Cop mistakes don't count as having clear and unquestionable authority of law.

    2. His demand to see your pistol permit might be legal. Depends on the statute. If you are required to have a permit into order to legally carry a pistol, then I would guess the cop is also allowed to demand to see the permit.

    3. However, the timing of the demand is a little suspicious. If the encounter was over and he was leaving at the point you acceded to his demand to cover up, then the permit demand was harassment or to "teach you a lesson." There may be federal law against this. I recently came across something--selective prosecution or something, but I cannot recall clearly--that suggested this permit demand when done as a harassment might be illegal under federal law. You would have to look into it.


    Suggestion: Come out swinging. Write an articulate, pull-no-punches formal complaint that cites and quotes law. Realize there is a distinct possibility the police will do nothing outwardly visible. But, also realize that just because you see nothing doesn't mean nothing occurred. The most important point is that now the police have to be careful. Now they know that you know. "Oh! Snit! Somebody knows! No we gotta be careful." The cop might lie. The department might bury the complaint. They might try to twist things. But, whatever they do outwardly, that message--that you know--will get across. For example, in 2007 a VA police department sent a whole shift against some OCers. Formal complaints were sent. The department lied--all seven cops, command, the Chief--in the face of strong evidence. The internal affairs investigation report had some of the most hilarious and obvious contradictions. Basically, the formal letter from the Chief said nothing the OCers claimed happened in the restaurant had actually occurred. However, since then not one OCer has been harassed in that town. The message got through. Also, your complaint starts a paper trail. Now they gotta be careful about OCers documenting a pattern of abuse and disregard for rights--ingredients that end up supporting a federal lawsuit. Your complaint starts that paper trail. They definitely don't want more complaints if they have any sense. Just more reason they have to be careful.

    US vs Mendenhall :

    We conclude that a person has been "seized" within the meaning of the Fourth Amendment only if, in view of all of the circumstances surrounding the incident, a reasonable person would have believed that he was not free to leave. Examples of circumstances that might indicate a seizure, even where the person did not attempt to leave, would be the threatening presence of several officers, the display of a weapon by an officer, some physical touching of the person of the citizen, or the use of language or tone of voice indicating that compliance with the officer's request might be compelled. (bold emphasis by Citizen)

    A threat of arrest is obviously language indicating compliance would be compelled. No doubt about that.

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...6_0544_ZO.html


    Terry v Ohio:
    No right is held more sacred, or is more carefully guarded, by the common law than the right of every individual to the possession and control of his own person, free from all restraint or interference of others, unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law. (Terry v Ohio, quoting Union Pacific Rail Co. vs Botsford)

    http://www.law.cornell.edu/supct/htm...2_0001_ZO.html

    Read that quote again. Slowly. Consider each word. No right. More sacred. More carefully guarded. Free from all restraint. Free from all interference. Unless by clear and unquestionable authority of law.


    I have a question. A rhetorical question. Food for thought. Why did the cop ask if he was being recorded? Having discovered he was wrong about the law, was he looking to see if he could lie about the encounter?

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    File a complaint. Don't let this bully get away with his bulls#*t

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    SPOProds,

    If you need help writing a good formal complaint, PM some forum member from your state for assistance.

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    Regular Member Fallschirmjäger's Avatar
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    Every time you have an 'encounter' with Officer Friendly outside of "How's the weather, hot enough for you?" file an incident request.
    Every time you have an 'encounter' with Officer Friendly where he goes outside his authority, file a complaint. Even better, VISIT his supervisors. You may be surprised how many actually care about the job their officers are doing and how the public reacts to it.

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    I should add that the supervising officers at BPT PD are of the legality of OC in CT. They have failed to train their officers correctly. I have e-mails from the Permit Licensing Dept. stating they have been in contact with the city attorney and are aware of OC being legal. Does this change anything?

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    I should add that the supervising officers at BPT PD are of the legality of OC in CT. They have failed to train their officers correctly. I have e-mails from the Permit Licensing Dept. stating they have been in contact with the city attorney and are aware of OC being legal. Does this change anything?
    It just reinforces that the department knew better. More ammo for the formal complaint.

    You do understand that you have a nearly unlimited right to petition the government for redress of grievances, right? First Amendment, last clause.

    Exercising rights is patriotic; thus, exercising your 1A right to petition for redress of grievances about this encounter is patriotic.

    Check your private messages SPOProds. Click on your username at the top right of the screen.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-15-2012 at 02:34 AM.

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    Thanks for the PM Citizen. Ill take care of it when I get home my phone won't let me do it for some reason. I'd like to take this as far possible. Do I have ground to file suit against the officer and department/city? Im fairly new to reading laws and understanding my rights. But have soaked up tons of info in the last 2 years our so.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    Thanks for the PM Citizen. Ill take care of it when I get home my phone won't let me do it for some reason. I'd like to take this as far possible. Do I have ground to file suit against the officer and department/city? Im fairly new to reading laws and understanding my rights. But have soaked up tons of info in the last 2 years our so.
    I'm not really qualified to answer that question. I'm not a lawyer. And, know very little about lawsuits and process for remedying rights violations in court.

    But, I suspect you have grounds. I would think pretty much any violation of an established right is grounds for a federal suit. There may even be an avenue in a state court.

    I recommend asking a lawyer to find out for sure.

    I sort of suspect, however, that the real question will be whether the cost of suing is worth the reward for winning. I have a feeling the courts are going to see this illegal detention as a very minor thing compared to say, being arrested, beaten, tasered, and suffering life-long impairment of some sort.

    So, check it out with a lawyer. But, don't be too surprised if the amount of money won is not worth the investment and time. On the other hand, maybe there is a lawyer who is willing to do it on contingency (he only gets paid for a win) and is willing to take a low-yield case if it covers his costs. In that case, maybe your benefit is a moneyless victory where all the award goes to the lawyer, but you get the moral victory and the police get the message even more strongly to leave OCers alone or at least have legal authority before detaining them.

    If you check it out with a lawyer and decide against suing, I would still urge a written formal complaint at a minimum.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-15-2012 at 03:28 AM.

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    At the very least iwill be filing a long, stern well written complaint. As far as the suit goes I am not as concerned with winning a monetary settlement as I an in setting a precedent and putting the PD in their place.

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    Another thing is I believe the officer was on lunch. Can I file an FOI for radio transmissions to determine if he radioed that he was going to lunch? Because if he didn't this is a violation of dept. policy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    Another thing is I believe the officer was on lunch. Can I file an FOI for radio transmissions to determine if he radioed that he was going to lunch? Because if he didn't this is a violation of dept. policy.
    I wouldn't focus too much on a lunch policy violation, unless you see some connection. I would send an FOI request for whatever I could get, though. You never know what it might turn up.

    An FOI request is a bit of a guessing game. You have to guess what records might exist where. For example, he was on his phone. Probably no police department recording of that phone conversation. But, maybe he texted something via his in-car computer system before, during, or after the encounter. Especially after the encounter. You never know when some cop might vent a bit to his fellow shift-mates about "some a$$hole OCer who gave me some lip, but I had to let him go. I'm going to be watching for him now. I'll get him sooner or later." So, text and e-mails to and from his car relating to you.

    Also, any field notes or field contact card. You never know but that he might have lied on an official report. Or, maybe even just twisted something. He did seize you illegally and then had to turn you loose. He's got to know, from the phone call, that it was an illegal seizure. He has a potential motive to lie or twist something in a report.

    You would think that once he was involved with you, and left you to make his phone call, you would think he woulda radio-ed dispatch that he was engaged in a stop and his location. So, there might be a dispatcher recording.

    Also, with FOI requests, you can always play it in stages. Request some items, but not all. Then, if there is juicy info in the first batch, you can always ask for more items. This is useful if you want to control your expenses. Some states make you pay for the released materials---research time and copying. It can add up if you use a shotgun approach and don't carefully word your request.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-15-2012 at 04:32 AM.

  15. #15
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    Prolly yes, but it depends on the state jurisdiction implementation of the FOIA. In my state, certainly yes. It also prohibits secret or code words.
    Last edited by Herr Heckler Koch; 01-15-2012 at 04:37 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    Another thing is I believe the officer was on lunch. Can I file an FOI for radio transmissions to determine if he radioed that he was going to lunch? Because if he didn't this is a violation of dept. policy.


    I think it would be of great benifit to somehow establish the officers duty status during the unlawfull stop. If he's screwing off in the deli, harassing people, well thats a problem, Brigeport has alot bigger problems than you, he should be out activly protroling the community. His superiors may see this as a problem, of couse he'll lie and say he was using the bathroom, or something, but it will put him on the spot, within his chain of command. The police commisioners in my town continuly empahase no cell phone during working hours ECT, hey continuly mention that when there out they observe the town cops on the phone all the time, they want your nose to the grind stone. Not hanging in deli's flirting with women or men for that matter , LOL. I know cops personell files are off llimits, but who knows how many times in the past he's been caught screwing off, the deli peice could assist you with tempering this rouge individual, if he was abusing his work privlidge, and has a ball breaker boss he's going to get a negative file entry, following him throughout his career.
    Last edited by Good Citizen; 01-15-2012 at 07:59 AM.

  17. #17
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    File a complaint against the officer. He had no right to do anything he did there.

    He had no right, authority or power to make you conceal, to ID you, or to detain you.

    As far a lawsuit, you certainly have standing and cause, but the real question is how much money do you have to invest in the lawsuit?

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    Thanks Rich, I will be filing a complaint against the officer. I will also be filing FOIA requests for any and all texts/e-mails from the patrol car, any audio from the personal call made to the PD from the officer, any radio transmissions, field notes, field contact card and any other documents paper or electronic related to the detainment on Jan. 13, 2012. Is there anything else I should include in the FOIA requests? Rich I have a fair amount of money to spend on the situation. As stated in our previous conversation it's not federal case law expenses though. Would a civil rights lawyer working on a contingency basis be recommended or frowned upon? Any help you could give me Rich would be greatly appreciated.
    Last edited by SPOProds; 01-15-2012 at 03:27 PM.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    SNIP Is there anything else I should include in the FOIA requests?
    If the cost of a FOIA is less of a concern, you could ask for copies of department policies, formal or informal, regarding how to handle contact with OCers. Sometimes those will reveal something.

    Do be a little thoughtful when wording your request for records. Be carefully specific. I'll give you an example. Lets use my suggestion just above about policies.

    Example 1. "I request a copy of any and all department policies, formal or informal, regarding how to handle contact with someone openly carrying a gun." Suddenly you get all four pages of the policy dealing with Terry frisks for all potentially armed subjects, all nine pages of the policy about using radios because that policy contains within it the policy regarding calling for back up when confronting a potentially armed suspect, all three pages of the policy about filling out field contact cards because that policy contains an instruction to check the box on the field contact card as to whether the incident was about a gun, etc., etc., etc. Most of those I just made up, but you get the idea. Suddenly you get, and maybe pay for, tons of paper that has nothing relevant to your actual interest.

    Example 2. "I request a copy of the page or pages of any police department memo or policy, formal or informal, referencing specifically citizens who are openly carrying a handgun, as distinct from citizens carrying a handgun concealed with or without a permit." This narrows it down a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Citizen View Post
    If the cost of a FOIA is less of a concern, you could ask for copies of department policies, formal or informal, regarding how to handle contact with OCers. Sometimes those will reveal something.

    Do be a little thoughtful when wording your request for records. Be carefully specific. I'll give you an example. Lets use my suggestion just above about policies.

    Example 1. "I request a copy of any and all department policies, formal or informal, regarding how to handle contact with someone openly carrying a gun." Suddenly you get all four pages of the policy dealing with Terry frisks for all potentially armed subjects, all nine pages of the policy about using radios because that policy contains within it the policy regarding calling for back up when confronting a potentially armed suspect, all three pages of the policy about filling out field contact cards because that policy contains an instruction to check the box on the field contact card as to whether the incident was about a gun, etc., etc., etc. Most of those I just made up, but you get the idea. Suddenly you get, and maybe pay for, tons of paper that has nothing relevant to your actual interest.

    Example 2. "I request a copy of the page or pages of any police department memo or policy, formal or informal, referencing specifically citizens who are openly carrying a handgun, as distinct from citizens carrying a handgun concealed with or without a permit." This narrows it down a bit.
    Thanks Citizen, CT's maximum charge is .50 per page. I will be specific though to keep my costs down. I will be requesting a fee waiver in the FOIA request as well. Not sure how often waivers are granted but it's worth a shot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SPOProds View Post
    Thanks Citizen, CT's maximum charge is .50 per page. I will be specific though to keep my costs down. I will be requesting a fee waiver in the FOIA request as well. Not sure how often waivers are granted but it's worth a shot.
    Something else, too.

    Be very neutral in your phrasing; no hostility. For example, if you write "Any record that lets some power-tripping cop just up and illegally demand an open carrier conceal his pistol", it just alerts the PD to trouble on the horizon. And, the police might use it as a justification to start an internal affairs investigation into your incident. I'm betting many states exempt from release information related to an ongoing investigation. Suddenly your FOIA is dead in the water at least until the internal affairs investigation is over, and who knows how long that can be dragged out. Cops have pulled this one before; I'm not making this one up.

    In fact, lemme see if I can find something for you.
    Last edited by Citizen; 01-15-2012 at 05:07 PM.

  22. #22
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    SPOProds,

    Check out this thread from years ago. Lots of advice on FOIAs

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...equests-in-VA&

  23. #23
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    I thought about it a bit as I was trying to sleep.

    Something to the effect of - copies of all communications mentioning the address dated not more than 24 hours after the incident, all communications to, from or about the officer similarly dated, all communications referencing the requester similarly dated.

    http://sunshinereview.org/index.php/...nformation_Act
    Last edited by Herr Heckler Koch; 01-15-2012 at 05:11 PM.

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    IMHO: File a formal comlaint, do not sue (or threated to sue) at this time. Keep copies of everything..the police report (if any) your complaint, and their response. If officer friendly (or anyone else on that Police force) gives you ANY more problems, file another, and keep record....if they do it a third time you can show a pattern of abuse, harassement...then you sue...and you and your lawyer both walk away smiling.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hermannr View Post
    IMHO: File a formal comlaint, do not sue (or threated to sue) at this time. Keep copies of everything..the police report (if any) your complaint, and their response. If officer friendly (or anyone else on that Police force) gives you ANY more problems, file another, and keep record....if they do it a third time you can show a pattern of abuse, harassement...then you sue...and you and your lawyer both walk away smiling.
    File the formal complaint AFTER you have your materials in hand in response to you FOIA request and have reviewed it. Filing the complaint first MAY result in your request being denied due to potential litigation or disciplinary actions.....

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